musings

Words of the Week #10

Hi all!
It’s been a couple if weeks since I last checked in here! How is everyone in the run up to Christmas? Reading anything good?

I got swept up with work and Christmas parties so my reading took a bit of a slide, but I went to the library yesterday and took out The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. I started reading this book months ago but as it’s so long, I kept finding excuses not to pick it up again. After a while reading recent releases, though, I’m ready for some 19th century fiction again.

My ‘words of the week’ are not from Collins’ novel, however, nor is there a specific word I’m going to research.

Instead, there’s a quote from Elisa Lodato’s An Unremarkable Body that resonated with me on such an intense level when I read it a couple of weeks ago that I had to share it. (Coincidentally, the word from my last post in this series, ‘obstreperous’ showed up in An Unremarkable Body – I found it such a funny occurrence!)

“Grief rose like a haze of heat, distant and distorted by absolute bewilderment that she was dead. And the unrelenting truth of it, the fact that day after day she was always nowhere, altered the landscape of my life…”

This is one of the most stunning descriptions of grief that I’ve read, one that certainly seems recognisable from my own experience. The bewilderment is especially relatable, the difficulty in accepting that someone no longer ‘exists’, that their existence has moved from the present to the past tense.

The mention of the changed ‘landscape’ of life was also incredibly touching: it does literally change because someone’s suddenly not available to see or talk to, but the way you simply understand that landscape changes. Everything seems different, more vast, more trivial etc, when seen through a lens of grief.

What I found moving throughout Lodato’s novel was the way that these overwhelming emotions and personal events were portrayed in such a beautiful yet concise way. She always got to the crux of each moment or feeling, but never lost any of its depth. It took my breath away every time: the beautiful but haunting reality of grief instilled in these pages.

I’m hoping to get a full review of An Unremarkable Body written up soon (I finish for Christmas on Friday) but I think this mini excerpt may give a few hints of what I thought about it.

Thanks so much for reading today’s post!

Have you read An Unremarkable Body? What did you think of it?

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